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Posts Tagged ‘seo’

Proof that blogging works for SEO

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

If you’re at all interested in search engine optimisation ‘SEO’, it’s likely that at some stage you will have been hectored by a ‘guru’ about the role of blogging, particularly its value in targeting ‘long tail’ search terms. You may have acted on this advice or, on the basis that you have better things to do, like cleaning the drains or pressing your underpants, you’re more likely to have ignored it with the happy consequence that you’re now the proud owner of sparkling drains and crisply ironed Y-fronts.

Assuming you fall into this latter category, here is a recent example of how a single blog post got to page 2 of Google in less than a week. Prepare to abandon your drains and neglect your smalls.

Last Thursday 8th March was International Women’s Day  - yes, they get their own day now - they’ll want rights next! After ‘harumphing’ at the vulgarity of a gender celebration, we thought we’d be decent global citizens and write a blog post for a client who sells, amongst other coffees, Fairtrade coffee and in particular, a coffee produced by a Peruvian women’s co-operative ‘Cafe Femenino‘. His company is D R Wakefield and they were the first company to import Fairtrade into the UK. Cafe Femenino is an inspirational example about how, with a bit of support, a group of previously disenfranchised women have developed a prosperous co-operative and a stronger community for themselves and their families. (Ok, hands up, we’re just a bunch of Guardian reading softies).

We published the blog post on Wednesday 7th March and, because we build websites in such a way that search ‘bots’ can quickly find and index our clients’ content, Google had indexed it within 24 hours. Clever old us.

Yesterday, in a familiar moment of regret after losing a tenner in the 3.15 at Cheltenham, we thought we’d see how ‘Cafe Femenino’ was doing in Google. Much to our surprise, our blog post was at position 11 for that search term after just 6 days. It then slipped a couple of places but its presence on that page is compelling evidence of the potential for relevant content to achieve visibility in Google.

We rest our case. You may now blog or if you remain unconvinced, please resume your drain oblutions, resplendent in your pristine undergarments, quietly to reflect upon this intriguing phenomenon.

Ethical search engine optimisation – you know it makes (web marketing) sense

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Ethical optimisation? What other kind is there? Sad to say, there are far too many so called ‘seo’ experts promoting ‘first place in Google’ and the like.

The fact is, nobody can guarantee first place in Google, or any other search engine for any meaningful length of time against keywords that are worth targeting. Any fool can get first place for ‘John Smith Left-handed Ironmonger Gloucestershire’ (with apologies to any left handed Smiths called John Smith specialising in Ironmongery in the Gloucestershire area) – but is anyone searching against that term? As for the length of time that you might maintain a good ranking, the search engines change their ranking methodologies regularly. They do this to ensure that web sites that use illegitimate optimisation tactics get found out and relegated.

First place in Google is not a business objective anyway – it might be a means to an end, but only if the keyword being targeted is used by significant numbers of people searching for precisely what your business offers. So, if your business targets UK residents looking for financial advice, you’ll want visits from UK people searching against ‘pensions advice’ or ‘investment planning’. If your business is regionally focused, you’ll want a local qualifier such as Gloucestershire, Bristol, Birmingham, the Midlands and so on.

So how should you optimise your site?

There are three key aspects to any search optimisation strategy.

1.    Preparing your site for the search engines

Search engines feed on content. To be able to access your content they need to be able find their way through your code. Far too many web sites are designed and built using complex code or graphically sexy tools like Flash. By presenting your core content in easily accessible html pages and providing the search engines with a sitemap in an appropriate format, you immediately get a head start over your competitors.

TOP TIP – Remember that search engines index pages, not sites. Every page on your site is a search engine optimisation opportunity.

2.    Targeting the right keywords with valuable, dynamic content

The search words and phrases that people use are often different to those which an insider might use. Search engine optimisation (seo) experts have access to databases that capture the words and phrases people use. We can identify the number of searches, the engines in which they’re made and the number of web pages competing for them. By building useful, regularly refreshed content around these phrases and programming each of your pages’ code correctly, we can ensure that the search engines index your pages accurately and that you score well in relevant searches.

TOP TIP – For every keyphrase you target it helps to have a separate page of valuable content.

3.    Building links to your site

Last but by no means least, link building is critically important to your pages’ search rankings. When Google was an academic research project it was known as ‘Backrub’ as in ‘back links’ – the pages that link back to you. Google’s premise is the same as that used by academic research papers – the more often a paper is referred to in other papers, the more credible it is likely to be. This is known as ‘citation authority’. On the same basis, the more sites that link to you, the more important your site is likely to be, provided that these sites are thematically relevant.

There are various ways of attracting links – by getting listings in the right directories, syndicating content to other sites, blogging and so on.

TOP TIP – Don’t link to sites or accept links from sites that are irrelevant to what you offer. Avoid links with gaming sites.

Epicado is a uk search engine optimisation firm. We have clients across the uk but mainly in Gloucestershire, the South West, Bristol, Birmingham and the Midlands.

We can help you get better quality traffic from good search rankings. We won’t promise you the earth – but we won’t charge it either. Call us on 01453 873638 or send us an enquiry.

7 ways to optimise your blog for search engines

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

If you write a blog, you’re probably aware that one of the benefits is better search engine rankings but are you doing everything you can to get the best results in Google, Yahoo and Bing?

Here are 7 tips on how to optimise your blog plus a link to a fantastic graphic explaining the key elements of a well designed blog.

1. Are you targeting specific keywords? If you haven’t checked the keywords that your target market uses, have a look at the Google keywords tool. It’s not the definitive guide but it’s a great tool and free to use. You just prompt it with your guess as to what your target keywords should be and it generates a list with associated traffic levels.

2. Have you invested  in a decent design? Beauty may be screen deep but a decent layout will create an immediate impression of professionalism and encourage readers to delve further into your content.

3.  Set a blogging schedule so that you don’t keep putting your blog to the back of the ‘to do’ list.

4. Encourage feedback but watch out for link spam. It’s virtually unavoidable. Discussions are to be welcomed and they provide a source of free, keyword rich content.

5. Make sure that you write meta title and description tags for each post. Wordpress provides  an SEO plugin that prompts you to do this. These serve two purposes - they tell Google what the post is about and they appear in the search results pages so write them in a way that’s most likely to attract a click.

6. Enable people to share your content on Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in and Google+. You can add bookmarking links too for sites like Stumbleupon.

7. If you can, add some visual content from time to time. It helps to add interest. Make sure you add an alt tag for each image.

And now, have a look at this graphic which explains everything visually.

You might also like to read my blog post about Google’s guide to basic search engine optimisation.

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